Background: Medical physicists are essential members of the radiation oncology team. Given the increasing complexity of radiotherapy delivery, it is important to ensure adequate training and staffing. The aim of the present study was to update a similar survey from 2008 and assess the situation of medical physicists in the large and diverse Asia Pacific region. Methods: Between March and July 2011, a survey on profession and practice of radiation oncology medical physicists (ROMPs) in the Asia Pacific region was performed. The survey was sent to senior physicists in 22 countries. Replies were received from countries that collectively represent more than half of the world's population. The survey questions explored five areas: education, staffing, work patterns including research and teaching, resources available, and job satisfaction. Results and discussion: Compared to a data from a similar survey conducted three years ago, the number of medical physicists in participating countries increased by 29% on average. This increase is similar to the increase in the number of linear accelerators, showing that previously identified staff shortages have yet to be substantially addressed. This is also highlighted by the fact that most ROMPs are expected to work overtime often and without adequate compensation. While job satisfaction has stayed similar compared to the previous survey, expectations for education and training have increased somewhat. This is in line with a trend towards certification of ROMPs. Conclusion: As organisations such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) start to recognise medical physics as a profession, it is evident that despite some encouraging signs there is still a lot of work required towards establishing an adequately trained and resourced medical physics workforce in the Asia Pacific region.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Biomedical Imaging and Intervention Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|